Daily News Sports Reporter
Ryan Hanes is heading into uncharted territory.
Hanes, 20, has decided to move to Duncan to play for the BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals. He made the decision 10 days after his hometown Kamloops Blazers, with whom he had spent three seasons, put him on WHL waivers.
He went through the Kamloops Minor Hockey Association — the Blazers took him in the fifth round, 99th overall, of the 2007 bantam draft. He spent time with the major-midget Thompson Blazers and the KIJHL’s Kamloops Storm before joining the Blazers in 2009-10.
On Sunday, he’ll head to Duncan.
“I’ve only been over there to play in Victoria last season,” Hanes said Thursday, of the Blazers games against the WHL’s Royals. “I don’t know a whole lot about it.”
He does know that the Capitals had his rights, and convinced him to come play.
“They protected my rights . . . I didn’t even know they could do that, but they did,” Hanes said. “The called and asked me to come. It sounded good.”
Hanes played 181 regular-season games for the Blazers, scoring 16 goals and adding 24 assists. He also had 316 penalty minutes as he became a fan favourite for his feisty play.
Last season, as a 19-year-old, Hanes set career highs in goals (8), assists (14) and points (22) in playing 55 games. He was plus-12. He also appeared in 11 playoff games, ending with a goal and an assist, as the Blazers took the Portland Winterhawks to Game 7 in the second round.
But he was one of five 20-year-olds on the Blazers’ roster, so fell victim to the numbers game.
Kamloops still has forwards Jordan DePape, Brendan Ranford and Dylan Willick and defenceman Austin Madaisky to battle for the three 20-year-old spots. Madaisky, a Columbus Blue Jackets prospect, may play with the AHL’s Springfield Falcons this season, but an NHL lockout could affect that.
Hanes said he has talked with Jim Ingram, the Capitals’ general manager and head coach, but doesn’t know much, if anything, about his role on the team.
“I haven’t really had time to think about that,” he said. “It’s all happened so fast.”
The Capitals have been on the ice already, and will open their exhibition season tonight against the Grizzlies in Victoria. Cowichan also will take on the host Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Saturday.
Hanes will arrive Sunday and practice with the Capitals on Monday and Tuesday, before heading to Nanaimo for a Wednesday exhibition game against the Clippers.
It’s a quick turnaround for Hanes, who won’t have the benefit of a training camp.
“I’m not worried,” he said.
JUST NOTES: The Capitals’ leading scorer last season was F Devin Gannon, a Kamloops native who was playing his final junior season. In 59 games, Gannon had 79 points, including 51 assists. . . . F Brandon Mistal, another Kamloops product, had 32 points, 13 of them goals, in 61 games with the Capitals last season. He has since been traded to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, with whom he played from 2009-2011.
A couple of Thursday tweets:
From former Seattle Thunderbirds G Calvin Pickard (@cpickard1): “@HANESR13 you were always a treat to play against!!! One of the biggest beauties in the league and obviously the best muzz #allthebestbud”
From Portland Winterhawks F Taylor Peters (@thepistolpete25): “Sorry to see @HANESR13 go. The dub loses one of the great mustaches of our era.”
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